Last week at SALT, I had the great opportunity to lead a panel discussion called, “The Same Kind of Different as Me.” The premise is that we have all these different creative disciplines working in the church—music, tech, media, programming and such. From the outside, those teams all get lumped together as the “creatives.” We’re all viewed as somewhat weird by the “normal” folks of the church.
But internally, we are each a bit different. Musical and technical artists are perhaps the greatest example of this. While they are both completely dependent on each other, they can also be at odds with each other. One of the most frequent questions I receive on this subject is a variation of, “How do I get my worship leader (or tech person) to do what I want?” My answer usually surprises them; I typically ask, “When was the last time you went out to lunch with them?”
Great Production Comes From Great Friendships
The best services, special events and even corporate gigs I’ve been a part of were all ones where I truly enjoyed working with everyone else on the event. When you are really good friends with your worship leader, something changes in the way worship happens. When you two don’t get along, everyone knows. They may not know that you don’t get along, but they know something is wrong.
But when there is a deep level of friendship, mutual respect and admiration between tech and music, worship is better. That takes work, but it’s so worth it.
It’s Not Complicated
Building a great relationship with your counterpart is not complicated, but it can be hard. Depending on how strained the relationship might be, you may need to bring in some help. But if you’re like most teams, and you’ve just never thought about it, start with food. Food makes everything better. There is something magical about breaking bread with someone that automatically deepens a relationship. That’s why so many first dates are over dinner. Food brings people together.
If you’re struggling with some issues with your tech guy (or worship leader) go out to lunch with them. Not with an agenda to try to fix it, just go eat a great burger together. Not the same burger. That would be weird. You get the idea. Go to lunch and ask them about their family. If they don’t have one, ask them about their guitar, where they grew up, what music they like, what movies they enjoy, maybe even what sports they follow. Get to know them, you know, like you would another human being. Crazy, right?
Do this for a few months, then start talking about how you can work together to develop a better team.
Get Out of the Booth, or Off The Stage
One of the best things you can do to build relationships is to leave your comfort zone, and meet someone in theirs. For tech guys, that means get out of the booth and be on stage when the band arrives. Ask them about their week, help them set up, and find out a little more about them. Do this for a few months and you will have a great relationship with your musicians. Music guys, get off the stage once in a while and go hang out in the booth. Ask the team there how they are doing. Get to know them. We will all serve each other better when we’re friends.
Just Talk To Them
My friend Dave Stagl said it best one time on a podcast some years ago. We were talking about how to help drummers play to the room. A bunch of suggestions were offered then Dave piped up and said, “I don’t know, how about walking on to the stage and talking to them like they’re a human being.” In the pressure of getting a service ready, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the people there are simply filling a role. We can forget that they are human beings with feelings, struggles, hopes and dreams. When we treat them like a role, we will not get the results we want.
But when we address them as real people, things change. Yes, this is harder and takes longer than just issuing edicts from on high. However, the results are much better and long-lasting. And besides, who doesn’t love a good burger?